DeSiCiTi is allegedly a desified version of Sex and the City. After watching the 1-minute teaser my suspicions were validated; this is not a TV show that I am most likely going to relate to. To be fair, I shouldn’t ever expect to relate to a product that is geared towards American desi girls. I grew up in the UK and was not raised in a strict and religious household typical of diaspora South Asians. I wasn’t even raised around other Indian or South Asian families that fit the previously mentioned portrait.
I also shouldn’t ever expect to relate to products created for American desi girls because, of course, I am queer. The television and movie producers love to assume that all desi women are straight, whether that’s because they’re idealistic straight men or self-absorbed straight women. Alongside the overall heteronormativity, the producers of DeSiCiTi seem to have inserted the traditional Sex and the City-esque tokenization of gay men. In fact, I came up with a basic list of requirements for the cast of many women’s sitcoms and TV series:
- The main characters are all female.
- There is almost always a token gay male, whether he is a “gay best friend” or not.
- The women are all the same race.
- They are all heterosexual.
The L Word definitely steps outside of the box, but the only desi actress on that show (Janina Gavankar) plays a Latina lesbian (Papi). While DeSiCiTi is exciting because it means we have more desi representation on U.S. television, I have got to thinking about what it would look like if I had a part in writing/producing it. In theory, I would like a show where there are some key Gaysi characters, instead of the default straight desi girls and queer non-desi girls.
However, if I were to use my own Gaysi life as inspiration, four single Gaysi women living in Chicago is not what would result. My real GaySiCiTi wouldn’t even have any Gaysis in it! My best friends are diverse in gender, sexuality, and race, but I am the only desi OR Gaysi. My best friends don’t even live in the same city as me, so if anything my GaySiCiTi would be more of a show that documents the vibrant long-distance friendships that are maintained over the phone, skype, google+ hangouts, and road trips.
Writer, editor, and director, Issa Rae, managed to create an overwhelmingly popular web series, Awkward Black Girl, from the viewpoint of the main character that is “awkward and black.” The show has reached such popularity despite its lack of a TV station and possibly because of its lack of classic sitcom characteristics. I feel that a truthful sitcom comedy or TV series with characters that people can relate to, rather than aspire to, will ultimately win. My vision and inspiration probably doesn’t qualify as a version of Sex and the City, Girlfriends, DeSiCiTi or The L Word but what about a web series? Which of you Gaysis wants to produce and direct it? …Jokes!
Sex and the City, Girlfriends, and DeSiCiTi seem to base themselves around the relationships, sex lives, and careers of four somewhat self-important women. What would your GaySiCiTi look like and be about?